The following are excerpts from the opening talk of the Self-Realization Fellowship 1975 Convocation given by Sri Daya Mata, beloved former president of SRF/YSS. The condensation of the full talk can be found in Sri Daya Mata’s volume of informal talks and spiritual counsel Only Love: Living the Spiritual Life in a Changing World.
You can also listen here to an SRF monastic reading this blog post.
The search for God, as you know, is an individual pursuit. No one else can give us God, any more than someone else can drink water for us when we are thirsting.
Our Gurudeva Paramahansa Yogananda used to say that if you are thirsty, just reading about water or hearing eloquent sermons about it will not satisfy you. It is only when you go to the well and drink deep of its cool, refreshing water that your thirst is completely satisfied.
So in the same way we can speak through endless aeons about God, we can read countless sermons about God, but they will never be able to quench the inner drought of our souls. Only one thing can satisfy our yearning, can fulfill our need, and that is to experience the love of God.
So we begin the Convocation with that thought as our supreme goal….
Make the Best Qualities of All Peoples Your Own
Let me read something prophetic that Gurudeva said, in this very hall (see photo caption below), in 1937: “It is a new world we face....and we must mold ourselves to the changes. An absolute necessity for the new generation is the recognition of the divinity of all mankind, and the sweeping away of all divisive barriers.
“I cannot conceive of a Jesus Christ, or a Lord Krishna, or the rishis of old calling any man a Christian, a Hindu, a Jew, and so forth. I can conceive of their calling every man ‘my brother.’ There will be no new order built on contempt of other races or on a ‘chosen people’ complex; but rather on recognition of the divinity of every man who walks the face of this earth, and on recognition of the common fatherhood of God.”
Guruji used to say that if Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Lord Buddha, and all the others who have communed with God were gathered together, there would be no quarreling among them, because they drink from the same fountain of Truth. They are one in God. He is manifest in them all.
It is the misdirected enthusiasm of small-minded disciples that causes division. We must do away with narrow-mindedness if we would be true disciples of the great ones. We should honor all religions; and we should love all people, be they black, yellow, red, white, or brown. It is nonsense to judge a man by his color.
Electricity may flow into a red bulb, a green bulb, a yellow bulb, or a blue bulb; but would you say that the electricity is different in each one? No. Similarly, God shines equally in all human bulbs as the immortal soul. The color of the skin makes no difference. We must do away with narrow prejudices. God wants us to take the best of the ideals and qualities of all peoples and make them our own.
Where Two or Three Are Gathered Together — to Meditate
In closing, let me share with you some thoughts of Gurudeva’s: “We must establish meditation groups and centers all over the world. But hives of temples and centers that are empty of the honey of God-realization do not interest me; the hive of organization must be filled with the honey of God’s presence.”
Meditating together is the way to fill the organizational hive with God’s honey. When I first came to the ashram, Gurudeva said to me, “Gather two or three around you and meditate.” It is what his guru used to tell him also.
Now, as Gurudeva wished, I see that you devotees from all parts of the world do gather in small groups, not for discussing philosophy or for personal ambition to be teachers, but to seek God in meditation. When even a few meditate together, each one strengthens the others in their desire for God.
Gurudeva said: “The masters of India say that the purpose of religion is not to create certain doctrines to be followed blindly, but to show mankind the perennial method of finding everlasting happiness.
“As the businessman tries to alleviate the suffering of others by supplying some need; as every man is an agent of God for doing some good on earth, so Christ, Krishna, Buddha—all the great ones—came on earth to bestow on mankind the highest good: knowledge of the path to Eternal Bliss, and the example of their sublime lives to inspire us to follow it.
“Someday you will have to leave the body. No matter how powerful you are, the body will eventually have to be buried beneath the sod. There is no time to be wasted. The Yoga methods taught by my beloved Christ and Krishna do destroy ignorance and suffering by enabling man to attain his own Self-realization and union with God.”
[Daya Mataji asks God’s blessings on the assemblage, speaking in the languages of some of the twenty-eight countries represented, and concludes with the following words:]
Divine Mother didn’t bless me with the ability to be a linguist! But I speak to you in the universal language of my soul: I give to all of you my soul’s divine love and friendship. That love which I feel for my beloved God, I feel for each one of you who are my own—you who are traveling toward the one supreme goal: God alone. God bless you.